Blank Park Zoo


We picked Cerra up Friday night in Des Moines and came back yesterday, but made a few stops (not including the state fair though! We didn’t have our mullets on). We went to Blank Park Zoo in West Des Moines. I was SO IMPRESSED with this zoo and the condition of their animals! I know this is probably totally taboo to say, but I liked it better than San Diego! Sure, there weren’t as many animals, and yes, it wasn’t in the middle of a fabulous park like Balboa park, and don’t get me wrong, I know how much San Diego does for animals who are endangered and threatened and for philanthropy. BUT. Iowa’s little gem in our capital is a fabulous place to spend the day or 1/2 of a day.

Here’s what impressed me so:

1. The zoo is very interactive. You walk through a gated area that has peacocks and emus and wallabies running around. At first I thought of this as a safety issue, but the animals really kept to themselves and patrons respected the animals and stayed on the path. Occasionally a peacock would stammer across the path but as I watched anxiously, I noticed that no one ran after it or tried to pet it or basically anything other than just witness it and hope that he would spread his tailfeathers.

2. The petting zoo part was VERY clean, the animals were clean and friendly, and gentle. Of course, there was miniature donkeys and a miniature horse and one donkey pony. There were goats, sheep, llamas, chickens, baby llamas, and they were all separated in their own areas (the goats, big llama, and chickens were together) and there were feeding stations and little holes where kids could stick their hand or cone or whatever in to feed them.

3. The water of all the animals that were inside or out was clean and clear. Animals that had a water habitat (like sea lions and penguins) had great habitats.

4. There is a pond that goes throughout the park. In the pond, towards the end of the kids area, there is a square dock, in the middle is a hole where you can feed ducks and koi. I have never in my life seen so many koi. They were literally jumping and crawling all over one another to get to the food. Now anyone who knows anything about koi knows that they DO become extremely friendly and the way to their hearts is most definitely through their stomachs. Judging by the size of these koi, I’m guessing that they were VERY well fed and definitely not starving. Anyway, it was very fun for Brighton and Cerra.

5. They offer a short but inexpensive train ride around part of the park (it’s short and you don’t see a whole lot other than trees and bushes…but Brighton HAD to ride the toot toot), a camel ride, and my favorite, Giraffe feeding. They also have a huge tent where they hold little classes and learning exhibits. This time it was “the scoop on poop.”

I was just really impressed with this little gem in the middle of Iowa! If you are in Des Moines, this is one place you should not skip. And feed the Giraffe!!

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